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‘Giants of Another World’
Easter Island and Twilight on Stonehenge


Two poems of two verses each, one of eight lines and one of six, give us Howard’s view of the loneliest place on the earth, Easter Island, where somehow, a nation who came into being at the furthest edge of the world by sailing wooden vessels, collectively decided to cut down the last tree in their world, and of Stonehenge, commonly thought to be the eldest place in Howard’s ancestral homeland. The poems together well up as a poet’s sense of the yawning gulfs that separated him from the giants of antiquity.

To quote briefly from Easter Island:

“How many weary centuries have flown

Since strange-eyed beings walked this ancient shore…

“Before those gods what victims bled and died?”

The answer is grim, that the true victims of those risen stone deities, those grim ancestors of their elders, were those stranded in a lost world slaying and eating each other in endless feuds over the barren land their creation had denuded [1] in reverently domesticated toil to the long ago glory of their forefathers. Howard may have imagined a man being stretched across an altar before these towering stone gods. But the true sacrifice occurred behind their backs, as the remnants of their race tore one another apart, in the endless war of “the men with bloody hands.” [2]

In Twilight on Stonehenge, Howard more wistfully wonders as if sensing a kinship with the raisers of these stones,

“Like giants of another world they stand

Flinging their shadows far across the land—

…Across the fen the sea-wind’s whisper comes

Bearing the discord of forgotten drums—”

Read from pages 56-7 of A Word from the Outer Dark

Notes

1. Jared Diamond, Collapse

2. John Keegan, a History of Warfare

A Well of Heroes

https://www.amazon.com/Well-Heroes-Literary-Impressions-Robert/dp/1534808256/ref=sr_1_6/180-6301626-9959864?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467037854&sr=1-6&keywords=james+lafond

https://www.amazon.com/Well-Heroes-One-James-LaFond-ebook/dp/B06WP3YKB5/ref=sr_1_62?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1511039403&sr=1-62&refinements=p_27%3AJames+LaFond

http://jameslafond.blogspot.com/

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